We are supporting characters in a guest’s story

Hotels are all about delivering an experience — bestowing guests with an uplifting story to enrich their lives. At least that’s the aspiration. Sadly, we fall short sometimes. Whenever we cover this topic, we often discuss a hotel in terms of the “narrative” it offers to those who visit. But this narrative must change from the hotel’s point of view to that of each individual guest. Although it’s a step in the right direction to even contemplate what a property’s narrative is, any efforts along these lines may prove to be a tad blindsided or self-centered if you are only considering what the hotel is doing. In terms of coalescing all operations — guest services, décor, amenities, loyalty member perks, local experiences — into the semblance of a unique narrative for your property, you should instead aim to meld them from a guest’s perspective. It’s a minor tweak in how …

Larry MogelonskyWe are supporting characters in a guest’s story

How to Restore a Heritage Restaurant

Anyone’s who’s anyone in the hospitality business knows that F&B is paramount to overall guest satisfaction. Having recently visited the mighty metropolis of London, England, I had the opportunity to visit the always grand and newly reopened Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill at The Savoy, easily one of the city’s best properties. The restaurant easily surpassed expectations – magnificent décor, great food, flawless service, everything perfect down to the linens and cutlery – and so I sought out the hotel’s Director of PR to learn about the changes made, what makes for a great dining experience and how Kaspar’s fits in with the rest of The Savoy’s restaurants. Tell me a little bit about the Fairmont acquisition and refurbishment of The Savoy. On September 13, 2004, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc. announced that it had entered into an agreement to manage The Savoy and subsequently assumed management responsibilities in January …

Larry MogelonskyHow to Restore a Heritage Restaurant

Why hotels need a restaurant upgrade

Middle-of-the-road dining experiences are boring. The best restaurants serve up unique experiences that differentiate without demarcating from their host hotels.  On the surface, every hotelier has a broad notion of how integral a hotel’s food-and-beverage program can be for the guest’s onsite experience. It’s all about exciting the senses and igniting positive emotions. That, and revenue, of course. But there have been several drastic changes to the fabric of our industry these past few years, and it’s time to revitalize the hotel-restaurant connection in order to sustain F&B profitability as well as enhance average daily rate, revenue per occupied room and loyalty sentiments. Before we get into some specifics and a few salient examples of how to bolster the synergistic relationship between hotels and the restaurants therein, let’s gloss over the most prominent root causes for why we need change now: the economic recession; the dominance of online travel agencies; …

Larry MogelonskyWhy hotels need a restaurant upgrade

RevPAR vs. RevPOR

When it comes to the terms RevPAR and RevPOR, RevPAR (revenue per available room) gets most of the attention. And it better, because it’s incredibly important for hotel operations and management. But RevPOR (revenue per occupied room) is equally important. In essence, it combines the metrics of RevPAR and occupancy into a “per capita” number, and when compared quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year, it can reveal some extraordinary guest insights. It’s best to illustrate this through an example: the traditional North American low season (excluding sun destinations) of January through March. It’s customary to witness a sizeable drop in occupancy during this time, which would subsequently lower RevPAR. However, because RevPOR assumes occupancy as static, it is a better barometer of changing patterns in how much guests are spending. Suppose during this low season you notice a jump in RevPOR for this year over last. This would be a good indicator that …

Larry MogelonskyRevPAR vs. RevPOR

Going Green To Be Seen

Going green is all the rage these days. It’s a benchmark we use to categorize modern, chic hotels and brands we want to identify with. And for good reason: upgrading your property to meet the ever-widening list of energy efficiency and resource conscious standards is a very noble pursuit – one that hopefully will be in vogue to perpetuity. These enhancements can take nearly any form, from simple or small to creative or omnipresent, and I commend you for improving your hotel(s) to help curb the rising energy demands and save our delicate ecosystems. But let’s take a step back and analyze why we are engaging in these pursuits and allocating precious dollars to this ‘responsible tourism’ movement. Whatever actions you take, the motivations fall into three broad categories: Adopting eco-friendly practices saves big on operational costs in the long run. Marketing a brand as eco-friendly generates greater customer appeal …

Larry MogelonskyGoing Green To Be Seen

Break through the review ruckus with branding

Does the average consumer still check the annual reporting of star and diamond ratings? Do customers know the criteria that distinguish each class? What sort of guest would actively seek these types of expert appraisals over online peer critiques? More important, is achieving a certain status on either Forbes or AAA a surefire means to boost sales, or is it now a vestigial hallmark of prestige? The advent of online review systems has deprecated the significance of expert rating organizations. People have a vague notion of what constitutes a 2-star or 4-star hotel, but the specifics are unknown, let alone top of mind when booking online. Other factors such as price, location and peer reviews play drastically larger roles. Will the democratic institutions of online travel review websites become a tyranny of the majority? Sometimes the customer isn’t always right, and we need professional critics front and center to remind …

Larry MogelonskyBreak through the review ruckus with branding

Being a Global Brand Leader

Formulating, building and growing your hotel brand is a task not for the faint of heart. It requires years of dedication to a singular purpose with broad strategies that affect all departments and operations from the ground floor all the way to the corporate oversight. Personally, I see the development of a strong brand as integral to a hotel’s long-term success – whether that hotel is independent, semi-independent or part of a global enterprise. It is with this gusto that I sought out Larry Light, the Global Chief Brands Officer for InterContinental Hotel Group to elaborate on his background, his reasons for entering the hotel industry and some of the moves he’s made to help steer the massive ship that is IHG towards future branding success. As my background is in the marketing, branding and advertising fields, I was delighted to hear what he had to say. Start with a …

Larry MogelonskyBeing a Global Brand Leader

COMO Hotels and Resorts Breakfast in Toronto

LMA Communications was pleased to host an informal breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Toronto on September 18th and 19th, on behalf of COMO Hotels and Resorts to select members of the media and travel trade publications. Representing COMO Hotels and Resorts were Thomas Orchard, Regional Manager of The Halkin and Metropolitan located in London, England; Grant Noble, General Manager of the Parrot Cay property in Turks and Caicos; Javier Beneyto, General Manager of the soon-to-be-open Miami Beach location; and De’Anne Nunziato, Account Director for The Americas. Each of the representatives shared their personal experiences and exciting developments from their respective properties, as well as the other properties from around the globe.

Jerry GrymekCOMO Hotels and Resorts Breakfast in Toronto

Upselling vs. drip pricing

We all have a conception of what’s implied by “upselling.” “Drip pricing” is a little less understood, so bear with me through a broad definition. It’s the practice of removing services out of what would normally be included in the regular nightly rate then offering them for an additional surcharge. Hence, the prices “drip” from a customer’s wallet as opposed to flushing out in the form of a single line item on the final bill. To look at it in black and white: Drip pricing is bad; upselling is good. There are obvious examples of upselling like room upgrades, spa packages and loyalty reward programs, but when it comes to the more quotidian services like housekeeping, local calls, complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi, it would be a terrible mistake to promote these as upsells both to your guests and internally to your sales team. It all boils down to managing customer …

Larry MogelonskyUpselling vs. drip pricing

Boosting share of mind

One of my biggest concerns for our fair industry is that hotels are losing the war for “share of mind” against the OTAs. I’m coming at this from a biased point of view as I was born into the marketing world straight out of MBA school and have worked for some of the largest advertisers in the field, notably Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. But, it’s nonetheless a losing battle. You have to apply the old marketing adage: share of voice (e.g., advertising) ultimately equals share of mind (e.g., conscious awareness, subconscious desire, intent to purchase, etc.). I’m reminded of the chapter of George Orwell’s seminal novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” where the protagonist is systematically brainwashed into believing 2+2=5. Scary, but true. If all people see are advertisements for the various OTAs, eventually those are the only brands customers will know and trust when they want to book a hotel room. …

Larry MogelonskyBoosting share of mind